Rafaelita C. Castro / Division Chief Market Innovation Division / Department of Trade and Industry Export Marketing Bureau

Published in Business Mirror

25 July 2017

In Photo: The Philippine contingent to South Africa is led by Department of Trade and Industry’s Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) Director Senen M. Perlada (third from left) and Rafaelita C. Castro (right), chief of DTI-EMB’s Market Innovation Division. The group conducted a market-opportunity mapping mission in that country.

THE Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Trade and Industry conducted a Market Opportunity Mapping (MOM) Mission to South Africa from June 25 to July 2.

Headed by EMB Director Senen M. Perlada, with EMB-Market Innovation Division Chief Rafaelita C. Castro, the mission aimed to explore trade prospects in South Africa, one of the world’s emerging markets and a gateway to the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The SADC also includes Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia,Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The delegation was well-received by Philippine Ambassador to South Africa Joseph Gerald B. Angeles, together with Second Secretary and Consul Joselito Chad Jacinto Jr., Third Secretary and Vice Consul Marie Cris Chieng and Protocol Officer and Attache Victor Atangan. They provided the much-needed assistance to the group and were instrumental in linking the delegates to important business contacts in South Africa.

The mission’s itinerary covered store checks and business matching with the business chambers in the key cities of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town and a scoping visit to the Southern African International Trade Exhibition (Saitex).

Together with the EMB, nine exporters with 17 representatives participated in the mission. Of the total exporters, five were from the processed-food sector (fruit preserves, coconut products, biscuits crackers and confectionery), two from the personal-care sector (perfumes and soap) and one each from the food-supplement and food-machinery sectors.

The mission’s itinerary started with a visit to Saitex, a general (horizontal) international trade fair held from June 25 to 27 at the Gallagher Convention Center, Johannesburg, South Africa. Simultaneously held with Saitex was the so-called Africa’s Big 7 (for food and beverages) and also the Hotel Show Africa.

The first-time meetings with officials of the chambers of commerce in Johannesburg and Durban, Wesgro (Cape Town and Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment) and with the Consul General in Cape Town opened the lines of communication for the participating Philippine companies. Both chambers expressed willingness to continue to develop business relationships from hereon.

Store checks were conducted in the branches of Pic n Pay, Woolworths, Game, Checkers Hyper, Spar and Shoprite, particularly in the cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town. It was observed there were very few Asian products in the mainstream market, which could be an opportunity for Philippine exporters.

Shortly after the return of the mission, South African Ambassador to the Philippines Martin Slabber hosted a luncheon meeting where the Philippine delegates shared insights and feedback about their first mission to South Africa. In turn, EMB expressed appreciation to Slabber and his staff who supported the delegation since the start of the mission.

The initial plan was for the mission to just explore trade prospects, assess the market and see how Philippine exporters could take advantage of possible opportunities in South Africa. The mission, however, exceeded expectations when immediate business prospects were identified for the participating companies.